In 1995 the case of Jean-Marc Bosman came before the European Court of Justice and changed the face of football in Europe. The case involved (amongst other issues) a challenge to the legality of the transfer system for football players. The ECJ found in favour of Bosman and against his club, RFC Liege, the Belgium FA and UEFA, determining that transfer fees for out of contract players were illegal where a player was moving between one EU nation and another.
6 May 2013, Mr Daniel Striani, player agent (registered with the Belgian Football Association), represented by lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont, lodged a complaint with the European Commission against UEFA in order to challenge infringements to fundamental principles of EU law caused by some provisions of the UEFA “Financial Fair Play” regulation (FFP).
An in-depth analysis
I thought it would be useful with Financial Fair Play (FFP) entering into mainstream football discussion to briefly set out my top ten tips to help understand the key concepts.
1) The FFP regulations not only ensures that clubs break-even. They cover a wide range of licensing conditions which are overseen initially by national football associations. Such requirements include ensuring clubs pay their debts in a timely manner.
Manchester City recently announced a £97m loss in their latest 2011-12 accounts. This led to the press and commentators fervently questioning City’s ability to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs). The aim of this blog is to illustrate how City will be able to use various deductibles in the FFPRs to significantly reduce their losses for FFPR calculation purposes. Such deductibles come in the form of removing infrastructure costs and subtracting player contracts entered into before June 2010 (so long as losses year on year are reducing). Such deductions will almost certainly lead to a much smaller loss which although may breach the FFPRs, is likely to incur softer sanctions than an outright ban.
Daniel Geey (@footballlaw) a private practice lawyer and an authority on football finance law. Daniel tells LawInSport about how he became sports lawyer, discusses his favourite sports law case and gives three pieces of advise to anyone trying to break into law or specifically sports law.
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It has recently been reported that the Premier League (PL) is considering implementing certain cost control measures. In line with the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and the Football League (FL) FFP rules, the PL is continuing the growing trend of leagues and associations looking to reign in club spending to ensure long term club sustainability.
The aim of this blog is to set out what the PL proposals may look like, the practical and political ramifications of whether such proposals are likely to be implemented and the consequences of such a change to the PL rules. Such consequences include comment on the potential legal challenges, the sanctions that may be imposed for breaches of the rules and who the rules may benefit.
Are clubs taking FFP seriously? What will UEFA do about non-compliance?
In September 2009 UEFA's Executive Committee unanimously approved a new Financial Fair Play (FFP) regime for European football. The principal motivation for these groundbreaking regulations is to prevent European clubs from pressing the self destruct button in what has become a race to the bottom in terms of financial recklessness.
By way of update, UEFA has modified a number of its licensing criteria in relation to third party ownership (TPO) issues. The new regulations were published recently and are available to read here. By way of a quick recap, the Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs) form part of the wider UEFA licensing regime.
It should be borne in mind that the new FFPRs relate only to participation in the Champions League and Europa League, and not to domestic leagues. Each club that believes it can qualify for that season's European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA club licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFPRs. Until the 2013-14 season there are no sanctions for breaching the FFPRs.
The FFPRs will therefore start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind, however, from the 2011-12 season onwards because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts will be used to determine a club's license application in the 2013-14 season.
Over the last week, a number of inter-related football regulatory issues have arisen. Some of these major talking points will have significance for how European clubs and national associations continue to engage with UEFA.
UEFA Champions League Broadcast Revenue Growth
It was reported by Matt Scott in a recent Telegraph article that the winners of next season's UEFA Champions League could earn over €100m. That figure is over double the amount that Chelsea will have earned from winning this season's competition (says the Liverpool fan through gritted teeth!).
It has been reported recently that the Football League (FL) is to adopt its own set of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. This follows on from UEFA's regulations which have effectively come into force this season. Various workshops were run over the summer for FL clubs to discuss what UEFA had done and to address a number of questions the FL clubs needed to consider when adopting its own set of the FFP rules.
An intention to bring the regulations into force was voted and agreed upon during the FL's annual summer 2011 AGM. This was followed up in December 2011 with the following press release:
"Owners and executives of Championship clubs re-affirmed their commitment to the principles of Financial Fair Play as a means for encouraging financial sustainability at club level. After further discussions about the practical implementation of Financial Fair Play, clubs agreed that the proposals should be finalised and taken forward to the next meeting of Championship clubs at Derby in February for final ratification. If approved, the new rules would take effect from the start of the 2012/13 season."
A few interesting issues take shape as a result of the FL's FFP announcement, and below are a number of talking points to consider.
Lausanne 6 July 2012
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision in the procedure involving the Turkish club Besiktas JK and UEFA. The CAS has confirmed the sanctions imposed by the UEFA Appeals Body on 30 May 2012:
- Besiktas JK is excluded from the next two UEFA club competitions for which it qualifies in the next five seasons;
- The exclusion for the second competition is suspended for a probationary period of five years;
- Besiktas JK is fined EUR 200'000, of which EUR 100'000 is suspended for a probationary period of five years.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision in the procedure involving the Turkish club Bursaspor KD and UEFA. In particular, the exclusion of Bursaspor KD, which was decided by the UEFA Appeals Body, has been suspended by the CAS for a probationary period of three years.
21-22 June 2012
Institut de hautes études en administration publique has announced that they will be streaming live from the Sport & EU conference (http://webcast.idheap.ch/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/GPI).
The conference will be covering a wide range of issuse including:
- Sport and gambling
- Match fixing
- Financial Fair Play Regulations
- Governance in sport
Be sure to turn in to listen to our very own Kevin Carpenter on the morning of the 22nd June when he will talking about "Sport Betting: A transversal challenge".
Click here for further information.